Ukraine news – live: Putin and Wagner lose ‘substantial manpower in Bakhmut fight’

Russia and the mercenary Wagner group have likely lost tens of thousands of soldiers in Bakhmut even as Vladimir Putin’s forces continued to fight in the salt mining city.

The Institute for the Study of War (ISW) pointed to the statement by the US chairman of the joint chief of staff general Mark Milley who said that the Wagner has around 6,000 professional personnel and 20,000 to 30,000 recruits, mostly convicts, in Bakhmut.

This is lower than the number mentioned by the national security council spokesperson John Kirby in December where he said that the Wagner had 50,000 personnel in Ukraine including 10,000 contractors and 40,000 convict recruits.

“It is likely that the difference between Kirby’s 50,000 figure in Ukraine and Milley’s 26,000 to 36,000 figure in the Bakhmut area is the result of casualties from Wagner’s attritional offensive on Bakhmut,” the ISW said.

Volodymyr Zelensky lauded Ukrainian strength faced against 400 days of Russia’s full-scale invasion in his nightly address.

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